I was blessed that Brennan Manning spoke and wrote openly about his past and his wounds. From the first time I read The Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Burnt Out in my teens, he challenged my thoughts about grace and unconditional love in a powerful way.
This video never ceases to make me cry:
This video was made for Brennan Manning's last book, the autobiography All Is Grace, written with the help of John Blase:
Brennan Manning was a controversial man. He was a Catholic priest. He was an alcoholic. He got married. He was a ragamuffin. He was honest about himself with a level of honesty that most Christians never allow themselves.
"When I get honest, I admit I am a bundle of paradoxes. I believe and I doubt, I hope and get discouraged, I love and I hate, I feel bad about feeling good, I feel guilty about not feeling guilty. I am trusting and suspicious. I am honest and I still play games. Aristotle said I am a rational animal; I say I am an angel with an incredible capacity for beer.His honesty and his theology have been criticized and questioned, but the heart of what he taught was this: God's word means exactly what it says; unconditional love truly is unconditional, and that is the love God has for us.
To live by grace means to acknowledge my whole life story, the light side and the dark. In admitting my shadow side I learn who I am and what God's grace means." - Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel
For a confused teenager sitting alone in her room - a teenager who was hurt by the world and the church; who was working hard to deny a childhood of abuse, yet understand why her heart hurt so bad; who was raised in a cult school that embraced extreme legalism; who felt so very unloved and unworthy - that message was a light.
"That which is denied cannot be healed." - Brennan Manning, All Is GraceIt is hard to know what to say about an author who I never actually met, but whose words touched my life so deeply. I am grateful that Brennan Manning and Rich Mullins (the two are always linked in my heart) came into my life at exactly the right time, and blessed that God used their words to speak to my heart.